He That Is Without Sin?
By Jimmie B. Hill
"He that is without sin among you, let him first cast a stone at her" (John 8:7). This is a verse of scripture that is often used entirely out of context by many brethren to excuse sin. Their contention is that since none are without sin, no one may point out the sins of another. This, of course, is absurd. The Lord does not refer to one who was absolutely sinless in every respect. That requirement would have made it impossible for anyone to be punished under the old law for Ecclesiastes 7:20 clearly states, "For there is not a just man upon earth, that doeth good, and sinneth not." What, then, did the Lord mean here in John 8:7?
The scribes and the Pharisees had brought a woman to the Lord who "was taken in adultery, in the very act" (verse 4). Where was the man? They invoked Leviticus 20:10 and Deuteronomy 22:22 and stated "that such should be stoned, but what sayest thou" ( verse 5)? They overlooked the fact that the law required that both the man and the woman should be stoned.
Were they truly concerned about the law of Moses? No! They were concerned about putting the Lord on the horns of a dilemma (verse 6). If he, thinking that the stoning would have been too harsh, said to turn her loose, he would have been in violation of the law of Moses. If he, on the other hand, had said to stone her, he would have been in violation of Roman law. Either statement would have furnished the Pharisees a pretext for accusations. However, the Lord maintained and vindicated the law but imposed upon them a condition which they had overlooked. That is, the one who executed the law must be free from the same sin, lest by stoning the women he condemn himself as worthy of like death. They knew that he knew their lives and that they were as guilty as the woman they had brought. He had previously called them "a wicked and adulterous generation" (Matthew 16:4). These scribes and Pharisees forgot, too, the demand of Moses (Deuteronomy17:5‑7) that the witnesses (accusers) should cast the first stone. The Lord's answer to them apparently hit like a lightning bolt. There can be no doubt that his words impressed upon them the truth that freedom from the outward act did not imply inward purity of sinlessness. Covered with shame, they left one by one.
Given this, the only conclusion possible is that the Lord meant that the ones who cast the stones must be innocent of the sin for which they wished the woman to he slain.
Brethren, don't misapply this verse. The question is not: “Who is without sin?" — the Bible makes that clear — "For all have sinned, and come short of the glory of God" (Romans 3:23).The question is: "Who has humbled himself in the sight of God and repented of his sins?"
1 Corinthians 16:2
by Jimmie B. Hill
Upon the first of the week, each and every one of you separately, in judgment or estimation of himself place, set, produce, deposit, lay down, lay side, allocate, assign, constitute, appoint, render, reserve, commit, design, or resolve a treasury, store, precious deposit, storehouse, or reserve in order that on occasion of my coming, at that time, there be no dispute about trivial things (JBH).
This translation is not a literal, word-for-word translation. It is an accurate, although expanded, English translation of 1 Corinthians 16:2 which allows for many possible renderings of God’s inspired word. The basic thrust of the passage, however is there. The apostle Paul wrote this to the church at Corinth concerning the collection for the destitute saints at Jerusalem. Paul had given the same order to the churches of Galatia (1 Corinthians 16:1). This and other commandments given concerning giving in the New Testament are commandments given for the church today (1 Corinthians 4:17). The church is to give only in this respect on the Lord’s Day, and that includes every Lord’s Day.
IS GIVING A PART OF THE LORD’S DAY WORSHIP?
This collection was for the poor saints in Jerusalem but not for the poor saints only! It included others that were not saints. Paul writes of this collection in 2 Corinthians 9:13 and states, “…for your liberal distribution unto them, and unto all men” (emphasis mine, JBH). (This is one of many passages that refutes the “saints only” doctrine.) As mentioned above, Paul wrote in 1 Corinthians 16:1 that the churches in Galatia had been given the same order as the church in Corinth to take up a collection for saints. The Galatians, in Galatians 6:10, were instructed to “do good unto all men” (emphasis added, JBH), and again, not to the saints only.
We learn the will of God through His Word in three ways: 1) by direct statements – this includes commands, 2). by implication, and 3). by approved example or account of action. In 2 Corinthians 9 and Galatians 6, we have two approved examples (among others) of congregations of the Lord’s people helping the poor, needy, and hungry. We still have the poor, the needy, and the hungry with us today and direct statements to do good unto them. This, of course, takes money to accomplish and so a collection of funds is still necessary.
When Paul penned 2 Corinthians and Galatians, the Lord’s church was charged with evangelism, teaching and admonishing the saints, as well as benevolence. These still apply to the church today. These actions also require money and so, via implication, a collection. The commandment of the collection is found in 1 Corinthians 16:1, 2 (“even so do ye”) and 2 Corinthians 9:7. In these two verses two things stand clear from all else: command and arrangement. Here we find the universal apostolic order that commands giving and an orderly fashion in doing so, or arrangement.
SHOULD WE GIVE ONLY ON THE LORD’S DAY?
The Lord’s Day has the preeminence of all the days of the week to the Christian. Christ arose on the first day of the week, the Lord’s church was established on the first day of the week, and we assemble to worship Jehovah on this day.
Aside from being very convenient to take up a collection while all of the saints are gathered, it is also part of the stated command of 1 Corinthians 16:2. Because it is a part of our worship to the Lord and we worship on the first day of the week, our weekly worship would be incomplete without it. In Leviticus 10:1, 2, we read of Nadab and Abihu who did almost everything the Lord commanded them in worship. They were “devoured” by their negligence. This account is an admonition to us today (Romans 15:4). We cannot worship properly if we do not do as commanded by God. “For whosoever shall keep the whole law, and yet offend in one point, he is guilty of all (James 2:10).
Our God, whose wisdom is manifold and knowledge beyond our comprehension, knows the hearts of men. One reason for this collection is to have the money and goods available upon their need. Sometimes we need things unexpectedly. God desires, no, commands, us to give on a regular basis so there will not be any disputes, controversies, or hurried gatherings when the necessity arises.
The first day of the week is convenient because we come together to worship God. As we partake of the communion, our minds should be on what a great sacrifice God made for us. God has given so much to us that we should be looking forward to the Lord’s Day so that we can render a storehouse of precious treasure to the Lord.
God has not authorized any other day in His word that this collection be made. The first day of the week is the only time mentioned that we are to do this as a part of the worship.
WHAT ABOUT SPECIAL COLLECTIONS?
The helping of the poor, the needy, and the destitute does not fall solely upon the church as a collectivity. In Matthew 25:31-46, we see the individual’s responsibility to others. The things listed in the context of that passage also takes money to produce. If one Christian took money out of his pocket on a Tuesday night and helped a hungry man, would there be anything wrong with that? Suppose ten Christians met together on Tuesday night, pooled their money and helped ten hungry people, would that be alright? Where would the error be if the entire congregation came together on a Tuesday night and pooled their money to help a family who were the victims of a house burning?
Many Christians, unfortunately, feel no obligation to anyone simply because they give “at church.” But, as stewards of God’s belongings, we are not only going to be judged by what we give back to the Lord each week but we will be judged also by how we use what we keep back. We must purpose in our hearts to give as we prosper (or in estimation of ourselves) and when we do that, that is the Lord’s money. We then have a responsibility as individuals to also do good unto all men (Galatians 6:10). At some point, as a work of the church as a collectivity, we must take the act of benevolence to the church. But we cannot refuse to fulfill our obligations as individual Christians.
Think about it! A special collection to fund the work of the church goes directly against the command of 1 Corinthians 16:2. The funding of the works of the Lord’s church is to come from the weekly contribution. So first, we give to the Lord via the congregation’s weekly contribution (meeting the budget) and then we give to others.
DOES ONE HAVE TO GIVE EVERY LORD’S DAY?
The real question here is “Does one prosper each week?” Some answer ‘no’ to the question and, in some instances, such as when sickness, etc. interferes, ‘no’ is the proper answer. In such cases the Lord will forgive.
There are five acts of worship authorized in the New Testament plan. To omit one of these acts would be not to worship properly. Some exalt the Lord’s Supper as the one thing they must do every Lord’s Day. They come in for communion and start off on vacation or go to the lake or the golf course all the while thinking they have complied with God’s law. However, the Lord’s Supper is no more important in the worship than singing, teaching, praying, and giving as commanded. To exalt or omit any one of these acts is wrong!
Some say they cannot give every Lord’s Day because they only receive money once a year, once a month, or every two weeks. But are these people prospered each week? Do they eat every day? Do they have money for life’s necessities every week? Do they have gasoline for the car, money for movies and other forms of entertainment? Yes, they are prospered each week.
But let’s suppose an entire congregation only received money once a month, every member, all on the same day. Would it be alright to dispense with the collection every first day of the week and only take it up once a month? But if it is right for one, why not for all? Where do you draw the line? You don’t! God does and He said “Upon the first day of the week.”
Brethren will finance money for houses, cars, boats, and live way beyond their means. Why will they not finance their giving? If a farmer could borrow money to finance his crop from year to year, why couldn’t he borrow money to finance the work of the church? One purpose of the church is to proclaim the “unsearchable riches of Christ” (Ephesians 3:8). What we give here, we will never miss in heaven!
Giving is the apostolic (inspired) command showing God’s divine arrangement of the plan for the church to do His will. Paul, through inspiration, gave this order and in 1 Corinthians 4:17 said, “even as I teach everywhere in every church.” Paul also told Timothy, and again through inspiration, “the same commit thou to faithful men, who shall be able to teach others also.” The command to give is for the church today.
Giving is indeed part of the Lord’s Day worship, and we should give (as a part of the worship) for the work of the Lord’s church on the Lord’s Day and that on every Lord’s Day according to the word of God.
The Little Faithful Christian
by Jimmie B. Hill
One evening the little faithful Christian was teaching other church members a lesson on visitation. He took his lesson from Matthew 25:34-46. During the lesson, many church members gave him hearty “Amens!” for truths that he pointed out from God’s Word. At the close of an excellent lesson, the little faithful Christian asked the other church members several questions.
“Who will help me feed the hungry and quench the thirst of the thirsty?” he asked. “Not us!” replied the other church members. “We have too many fellowship meals to plan.” So the little faithful Christian took it upon himself.
“Who will help me to house the homeless?” said the little faithful Christian. “Not us!” said the other church members. “We’re expecting guests from out of town.” So the little faithful Christian opened up his home to the homeless.
“Who’ll help me clothe the naked?” the little faithful Christian asked reluctantly. “Not us!” cried the other church members. “We’ve got to buy new Easter outfits and you know how tight money is.” And so the little faithful Christian took his own money and bought and gathered clothing and gave to those in need.
And finally the little faithful Christian asked, “Who’ll visit the sick, the fatherless, and those in prison?” And the other church members said, “Not us! We’re going on vacation for a much needed rest.” And so the little faithful Christian visited as many as he possibly could.
Not too long after the little faithful Christian presented this lesson, the Lord returned. He asked, “Who’ll go with me to heaven?” and all the church members said in unison, “We will! We will!” But the Lord said, “Depart from me, ye cursed. To him that knew to do good, and did it not, to him it is sin. You were to be doers of the word and not hearers only, and inasmuch as ye did nothing for the poor and less fortunate, ye did nothing for me. Depart into everlasting fire.” But to the little faithful Christian the Lord said, “Come ye blessed of my Father, inherit the kingdom prepared for you from the foundation of the world.”
What is the moral of this story? Well, you figure it out.
I Get So Tired . . .
by Jimmie B. Hill
by Jimmie B. Hill
I read an article the other day on brotherhood issues and fellowship. The author’s point was that we should not be concerned with minor issues but should only be concerned with bringing people to Christ. I get so tired of brethren who are willing to overlook what they deem “minor” sin in an effort to forgive what they consider to be “major” sin. If these so-called “minor” sins are not important, then why does God command repentance to be made by an erring brother or before the alien sinner be brought to Christ?
I get so tired of brethren who are willing to dismiss conservatism for the sake of liberalism. They point out the division over the one-cup issue, church cooperation, orphans homes and the fact that we are divided over expedient matters. They fail to point out, however, that it is not the expedients that are causing the divisions but the binding of these expedients as law. If these things were simply viewed as expedients there would be no division. Such is not the case. But then these brethren try to convince others that their liberal practices are also just matters of expediency. Instrumental music in the worship of the church is not an expedient; baptism is not an expedient; conservatism and liberalism are not expedients. God gave us the Truth. Truth is neither conservative nor liberal. It is absolute and we must walk therein to be pleasing to God. While it is true that we have certain liberties in Christ, we dare not loose where God has bound nor bind where God has loosed. To do so is sin.
I get so tired of brethren who want unity (actually mere union) at the sake of doctrine. I get so tired of brethren who constantly think of fellowship as “visiting, eating, and playing together” with the brethren. I get so tired when I hear brethren say, “God is not concerned with our perfection, as much as our direction.” I get so tired of hearing the brethren say, “Well, it may not be exactly what God wants, but I like it.”
Yes, I get so tired of these things and many more such things in our brotherhood. But then I think of my wonderful brethren who stand tall for the truth and endure this same tired feeling. I think of Paul and how tired he must have surely been being beaten and imprisoned as he stood for truth . And I think of Jesus who was certainly tired after being beaten, spat upon, mocked, ridiculed, scourged, slapped about the head, and then falling from the weight of the cross and I don’t feel so tired anymore.
I guess many have been tired through the ages. Truth has always had its foes and its champions surely grew tired. But truth will prevail so I will go on teaching and trying to get others to obey the Lord in every way. I get so tired but I know that someday there will be rest for me.
About three thousand years ago Koheleth wrote, “Because sentence against an evil work is not executed speedily, therefore the heart of the sons of men is fully set in them to do evil” (Ecclesiastes 8:11). What a sad, depressing, and discouraging commentary on the attitude of man toward sin. History records thousands of instances where justice has been defeated and even humiliated by prolonging the punishment of the evil doer. When the guilt of one has been proven beyond doubt, he should be punished straightway. The lag in retribution is the secret of many of the follies and faults within the world today.
Sweeping It Under The Rug
by Jimmie B. Hill
This same sad commentary can also be read in the church of our Lord. In many congregations sins are just “swept under the run” and, although they are never completely forgotten, they are ignored. This action is preferred over doing it the Lord’s way (II Thessalonians 3:6) and allows the congregation to wear the facade of peace, love, happiness, and contentment. It lulls the brethren into a false sense of peace and security.
If evil, like a raging fire, would scorch us all at once, we would take more care in doing the Lord’s will in such matters. However, when issues are hidden by time – “swept under the rug” – our willingness to do the Lord’s will becomes more lax and we begin to get comfortable in sin and many more problems arise (“a little leaven leaveneth the whole lump”). Sins that are not dealt with swiftly will have consequences that may be beyond our immediate vision but will cause trouble just the same. Simply “swept under the rug” they will leave “lumps” that will be stumbled over time and time again.
The apparent success of the sinner should not discourage others from doing that which is right. His false pride and arrogance, combined with other forms of wickedness in his life, are grievous to the Lord and motivates him to falsely accuse the faithful whom he regards as his enemies. This is purely a cowardice method used to deal with that which he cannot meet otherwise. David wrote such a one:
“His ways are always grievous; thy judgements are far above out of his sight: as for all his enemies, he puffeth at them. He hat said in his heart, I shall not be moved: for I shall never be an adversity. His mouth is full of cursing and deceit and fraud: under his tongue is mischief and vanity” (Psalm 10:5-7).
Isaiah stated, “Let favour be shewed to the wicked yet will he not learn righteousness: in the land of uprightness will he deal unjustly, and will not behold the majesty of the Lord” (Isaiah 26:10). Favor shown to the wicked will be unappreciated and will not improve his conduct but will only make it worse. And even though he may be surrounded by the goodness of the faithful, he will continue in his unjust life, in his unholy ways, and in his disrespect for God and His faithful children.
Brethren, “The Lord is not slack concerning his promise” (II Peter 3:9). The wicked man will finally receive his reward as well as all who aid and abet him. Those who fear the Lord (and not the anger of the sinner) will receive favor from the Lord. Shall we obey the Lord or continue “sweeping it under the rug?”
We Are To Be Wallbuilders
by Jimmie B. Hill
by Jimmie B. Hill
In the Old Testament books of Ezra and Nehemiah we read of the rebuilding of the city of Jerusalem. This was done in three successive efforts, beginning in the first year of the reign of Cyrus. First, Zerubbabel and Jeshua led a band of Jews to Jerusalem and started the work to rebuild the temple (Ezra 1:1,2; 3:1,2). Ezra went up to Jerusalem and restored the law by reading and explaining it to the people during the reign of Artaxerxes (Ezra 7:1-19). And Nehemiah also went up to Jerusalem to begin work on rebuilding the wall in the 20th year of Artaxerxes (Nehemiah 2:1ff).
The wall was finished in fifty-two days (Nehemiah 6:15) and the enemies of Israel were “cast down in their own eye” (v. 16. Why? Because they lost their self-confidence. They knew that this work was wrought from God (v. 15b). God today reveals Himself through the works of His people.
The rebuilding of the wall of Jerusalem was not without tests and trials! The Jews faced opposition from without and from within. The Lord’s people today face the same opposition.
From without the Jews faced
1) Ridicule (Nehemiah 2:19; 4:3);
2) Hindrance (Nehemiah 4:8);
3) FALSE ACCUSATIONS (Nehemiah 6:5-7); and
4) COMPROMISE (Nehemiah 6:2).
Today the church of our Lord is ridiculed and called a host of unsavory names and this by even others who claim to be Christians; is impeded in its work by the world; suffers false accusations; and is called to compromise the truth. Unfortunately, many of our brethren have given in to this opposition. They have left the work of rebuilding the wall and have come down from Jerusalem leaving the Lord and His word behind to compromise the truth on the “plain of Ono.” Nehemiah was too wise to be sidetracked and stayed with the task given him by the Lord (Nehemiah 6:3). The Lord’s people must exercise that same wisdom today!
The opposition from without caused grave problems for the Jews from within. Internally they faced
1) INDIFFERENCE (Nehemiah 3:5);
2) WORLDLINESS (Nehemiah 4:10);
3) COWARDICE (Nehemiah 4:11,12).
Many of those within the church today are indifferent and apathetic to the Lord, His work, and His people. They revel in worldliness wanting all that “glitters” and the Lord’s blessing at one and the same time but only to their own deceit. Cowardice is unbecoming to a child of God (Revelation 21:8).
Brethren, let us put our hands together and overcome indifference so that we all may put our “necks to the work of the Lord.” Let us rid ourselves of the “rubbish” of worldliness so that we are able “to build the wall.” And let us throw off the yoke of cowardice and proclaim the glory of the Lord wherever we may be.
Our Lord and Saviour withstood ridicule. He overcame the hindrances to His work. He did not let the false accusations stop him. He never, never compromised the truth. We, too, can overcome all of these outside obstacles if we will simply follow Jesus (I Peter 2:21; Philippians 4:13).
Even though an internal evil is always more dangerous and deadly than an external evil, both can be overcome.
More articles are available at International Bible Teaching Ministries.